A roster of uncanny characters and their interactions is enough to detract from a well-trodden, predictable story. New Tales from the Borderlands is chock full of mini-games, laughs and great performances throughout. With cameos from well-known, returning characters and that distinctive art style, New Tales from the Borderlands is definitely worth playing, especially for Borderlands fans.
Session: Skate Sim is unique amongst its peers. Its control scheme, while taking time to master, is massively rewarding. Rolling around the streets and finding your own skating lines is addictively entertaining. It's a shame about the quest system, its overall presentation and some of the rough edges but do I feel Session is a few patches away from greatness.
Inscryption is an amalgamation of deck-builder and escape room games, and is unlike anything I have ever played before. In an age of video games where uniqueness is at an all-time low, it was amazing to be so surprised at regular intervals. Inscryption will test what you think a card battling roguelite is and its constant twists and turns will keep you on your toes. It's a game where I fully feel like I have sculpted my deck myself; it's wild, it's dark and it's utterly brilliant.
For a mish-mash of genres, Cult of the Lamb does an excellent job of making both parts feel significant and dependent on each other. It's gorgeous, rewarding and made me laugh throughout. As your cult progresses and you move on from cleaning up everyone's poop, you will see your followers flourish. Designing and maintaining your base is excellent and I enjoyed the rogue-lite runs that can be completed in easily in under 15 minutes. Highly recommended, cult-based, rogue-lite shenanigans.
Short but ever-so-sweet, Trek to Yomi is a pretty linear affair that respects your time. The combat is nuanced, evolves over time and is entertaining to learn. Small bursts of exploration are rewarded with collectables and upgrades but your main path is never obscured. It's cinematically beautiful and what's done with perspective and setting up each scene is really unique. Trek to Yomi is unlike anything else I have played recently, it's not bloated, pure and I appreciate that a lot.
While Roguebook may not be my favourite game in this genre, it does offer a lot of variation and a few interesting tweaks to the genre. It's jaw-droppingly beautiful, incredibly creative and the crucial card play is very entertaining. The exploration is a nice addition and creates a risk and reward system to proceedings, as is the card crafting. While you may not be able to create a lean, all-killing deck, what you can create is a heaving bag of frivolity and opportunities.
Even though it was initially difficult and with very basic combat, Infernax wooed me with its comical gore, beautiful music and simple art style. Infernax will not be everyone's cup of tea but if you have a bit of time and want to play something a little different, I can recommend it. Just beware, you initially may need to navigate a bit of a skill wall of sorts to progress.
Vagante is an entertaining experience, especially with friends. It may feel familiar to players who have played games like Spelunky but it does carve its own path with its build and loot system. It's initially hard but never unfair and has quite a bit of content for a game developed by such a small team. If you're a fan of the genre, it is well worth a look.
While I would have liked a bit more variety, what Solar Ash gives is a beautiful, vivid, technological adventure that drips with style. Its fluid traversal, combat and puzzle-like sections are a joy to navigate, as are its hulking bosses. Solar Ash is like nothing else on the market at the moment and that alone is enough for me to recommend it. What more could you want than a stunning, fluid, unique game? Not much, I reckon.
Rarely is a game fun, beautiful and thought-provoking while being entertaining. The Wild at Heart does cover some heavy emotional threads while weaving them into a bright, bold and funny tapestry. New items and systems are introduced slowly and regularly, the puzzles are fun and there is always something to do. There are quests and objectives off the beaten path, secrets to find and weird characters to help. The Wild at Heart is a game I can recommend to just about anyone.
While not too much has changed, everything we love about Isaac has been expanded on. With a massively improved multiplayer mode, new bosses, items, paths and challenges, Isaac is at his tearful best. The PS5 version is the best console version of Isaac and contains everything ever made, and while it may be pricey, you get a hell-load of content for your money. If it sucks you in - and it probably will - you'll be treated to one of the best roguelikes ever made.
Weird, unique and brilliantly designed, Backbone is a game like no other in 2021. The narrative is both mysterious and absorbing, the characters and dialogue are fun and it never overstays its welcome. I wish I was given a little more information in the second half of the game and the ending a bit more fleshed out but I was left wanting more. Backbone surprised me massively and I enjoyed it a lot.
Full of character and charm, Lost in Random is a witty and enjoyable tale that at times, mimics our own. It's eerily beautiful, well made and fans of board games will fall in love with it. The combat system is rewarding and has just enough nuance to keep it interesting until the end. So roll your dice and take a chance on Lost in Random. It is a unique game amongst its current peers.
Witty, charming and full of character, Psychonauts 2 manages to keep what made the original so memorable, and add worthwhile additions to improve the experience. It tackles dark subjects with tact, humour and is like nothing else on the market. There are not enough of these types of games these days and Psychonauts 2 stands tall, proud, and nearly alone in its field.
An enjoyable blend of genres and gameplay systems gives Tribes of Midgard a unique feel. While not being revolutionary, it manages to create a pleasant online experience rarely seen on a PlayStation platform. It looks clean, feels fresh and has enough content to keep you going for a long time. While I am not a massive fan of the Fortnite-style progression system, I loved the rewards tied to your Trophies. Tribes of Midgard is great, especially if you have friends to quest with.
My opening days with Blightbound were ridden with crashes and bugs. Luckily the say one patch fixed most of these and you, if you buy it, will never have to suffer as I did. When I got through the initial pain, there are parts of Blightbound I liked. I enjoyed combing abilities together, I really enjoyed multiplayer and collecting new heroes is delightful. Be wary of playing alone though, the AI is tosh and the game can get quite repetitive in longer sessions. There are better examples of dungeon crawlers out there but Blightbound does have some good qualities mixed in with its bad ones.
Whether you latch on to the interesting technological tale of Scarlet Nexus or dig into its intricate combat system Scarlet Nexus is well worth your time and effort. It's full of beautiful characters, strange creatures, and plot twists. The camera can be irksome and some of the environments can look dated but overall the experience is a pleasant one. There is a fair amount of content for your hard-earned cash and the game never outstays its welcome. I can recommend it to most players, even people who rarely dip into the JRPG genre, such as myself.
Simplistic, light on content, and if played in longer sessions, repetitive. However, when played in short bursts and after you have got to grips with some of the games nuances it can be fun and rewarding. There are better skateboarding games out there without a doubt but if you have played them all and want to shred, Skate City does have its merits.
Hard as nails, beautiful and rewarding. ScourgeBringer may take some work to adapt to but it is well worth the time and effort required. The combat is poetry in motion and you always feel you are progressing, albeit, at times, slowly. Either by your skills improving or through the persistent upgrades you unlock you are rarely standing still. In a crowded roguelike market, ScourgeBringer is towards the top end of the list of games you should give a go.